Selfon’s ambitious, character-driven debut tells the interconnected stories of “a perfectly wonderful, perfectly Brooklyn family of misfits”: Shecky Keenan, a fastidious small-time money launderer; Henry Vek, an aspiring artist and one of Shecky’s couriers; and Kerasha Brown, a poetry-loving, talented thief recently released on probation. These characters, along with a host of minor ones, their marginalized underworld, and the intricacies of money laundering are credibly rendered by Selfon, who spent 15 years working for law enforcement agencies in New York City. The plot focuses on Shecky’s troubled business: banks are no longer honoring his transfer instructions (the final step in turning dirty money into “clear” money), and a bag with $250,000 is lost, and its courier is found murdered. Selfon fully fleshes out the major characters’ backstories, dreams, and disappointments, and even the minor characters get their moment in the sun. Superior prose is a plus (“The rooms smell of burnt coffee and overtime”). Fans of literary crime fiction will be enthralled. Agent: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Union Literary. (Oct.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author’s name.